Fossil Science
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to FossilScience.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Two-dimensional electron liquidsTwo-dimensional electron liquids

Sharks in acidic waters avoid smell of foodSharks in acidic waters avoid smell of food

How bacteria battle fluorideHow bacteria battle fluoride

Researchers create world's largest DNA origamiResearchers create world's largest DNA origami

Neuroscientists decode brain maps to discover how we take aimNeuroscientists decode brain maps to discover how we take aim

What set the Earth's plates in motion?What set the Earth's plates in motion?

World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100World population to keep growing this century, hit 11 billion by 2100

The future face of molecular electronicsThe future face of molecular electronics

American-made wind turbine bladesAmerican-made wind turbine blades

Nature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologiesNature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologies

Astrophysicists to probe how early universe made chemical elementsAstrophysicists to probe how early universe made chemical elements

Is a gluten-free diet enough to control the complications of celiac disease?Is a gluten-free diet enough to control the complications of celiac disease?

Researchers find 'most famous wheat gene'Researchers find 'most famous wheat gene'

Elusive quantum transformations found near absolute zeroElusive quantum transformations found near absolute zero

When rulers can't understand the ruledWhen rulers can't understand the ruled

Hey1 and Hey2 ensure inner ear 'hair cells' are made at the right time, in the right placeHey1 and Hey2 ensure inner ear 'hair cells' are made at the right time, in the right place

Collaboration drives achievement in protein structure researchCollaboration drives achievement in protein structure research

X-ray imaging paves way for novel solar cell productionX-ray imaging paves way for novel solar cell production

Blood-cleansing biospleen device developed for sepsis therapyBlood-cleansing biospleen device developed for sepsis therapy

Childhood mentors have positive impact on career successChildhood mentors have positive impact on career success

Missing piece found to help solve concussion puzzleMissing piece found to help solve concussion puzzle

Mapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi JewsMapping the DNA sequence of Ashkenazi Jews

Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'

Bombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big DataBombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big Data

Program earns kudos for improving grades, retaining studentsProgram earns kudos for improving grades, retaining students

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Scientists find oldest occurrence of arthropods preserved in amber (8/29/2012)

Tags:
arthropods, amber, triasacarus fedelei, ampezzoa triassica
These photomicrographs are of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy, taken at 1000x magnification. The gall mites were named (left) <I>Triasacarus fedelei</I> and (right) <I>Ampezzoa triassica</I>. -  University of Göttingen/A. Schmidt
These photomicrographs are of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy, taken at 1000x magnification. The gall mites were named (left) Triasacarus fedelei and (right) Ampezzoa triassica. - University of Göttingen/A. Schmidt

An international team of scientists has discovered the oldest record of arthropods-invertebrate animals that include insects, arachnids, and crustaceans-preserved in amber. The specimens, one fly and two mites found in millimeter-scale droplets of amber from northeastern Italy, are about 100 million years older than any other amber arthropod ever collected. The group's findings, which are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pave the way for a better evolutionary understanding of the most diverse group of organisms in the world.

"Amber is an extremely valuable tool for paleontologists because it preserves specimens with microscopic fidelity, allowing uniquely accurate estimates of the amount of evolutionary change over millions of years," said corresponding author David Grimaldi, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Invertebrate Zoology and a world authority on amber and fossil arthropods.

Globules of fossilized resin are typically called amber. Amber ranges in age from the Carboniferous (about 340 million years ago) to about 40,000 years ago, and has been produced by myriad plants, from tree ferns to flowering trees, but predominantly by conifers. Even though arthropods are more than 400 million years old, until now, the oldest record of the animals in amber dates to about 130 million years. The newly discovered arthropods break that mold with an age of 230 million years. They are the first arthropods to be found in amber from the Triassic Period.

The amber droplets, most between 2-6 millimeters long, were buried in outcrops high in the Dolomite Alps of northeastern Italy and excavated by Eugenio Ragazzi and Guido Roghi of the University of Padova. About 70,000 of the miniscule droplets were screened for inclusions -encased animal and plant material-by a team of German scientists led by Alexander Schmidt, of Georg-August University, Göttingen, resulting in the discovery of the three arthropods. The tiny arthropods were studied by Grimaldi and Evert Lindquist, an expert on gall mites at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa.

Two of the specimens are new species of mites, named Triasacarus fedelei and Ampezzoa triassica. They are the oldest fossils in an extremely specialized group called Eriophyoidea that has about 3,500 living species, all of which feed on plants and sometimes form abnormal growth called "galls." The ancient gall mites are surprisingly similar to ones seen today.

"You would think that by going back to the Triassic you'd find a transitional form of gall mite, but no," Grimaldi said. "Even 230 million years ago, all of the distinguishing features of this family were there-a long, segmented body; only two pairs of legs instead of the usual four found in mites; unique feather claws, and mouthparts."

The ancient mites likely fed on the leaves of the tree that ultimately preserved them, a conifer in the extinct family Cheirolepidiaceae. Although about 97 percent of today's gall mites feed on flowering plants, Triasacarus fedelei and Ampezzoa triassica existed prior to the appearance and rapid radiation of flowering plants. This finding reveals the evolutionary endurance of the mites.

"We now know that gall mites are very adaptable," Grimaldi said. "When flowering plants entered the scene, these mites shifted their feeding habits, and today, only 3 percent of the species live on conifers. This shows how gall mites tracked plants in time and evolved with their hosts."

The third amber specimen, a fly, cannot be identified because, outside of the insect's antennae, its body parts were not well preserved. But now that the researchers have shown that amber preserved Triassic arthropods, they are eager to find more specimens.

"There was a huge change in the flora and fauna in the Triassic because it was right after one of the most profound mass extinctions in history, at the end of the Permian," Grimaldi said. "It's an important time to study if you want to know how life evolved."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the American Museum of Natural History

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Capturing ancient Maya sites from both a rat's and a 'bat's eye view'

If hippopotamuses can't swim, how can some be living on islands?If hippopotamuses can't swim, how can some be living on islands?

'Jaws' lived in Doncaster'Jaws' lived in Doncaster

How an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking headHow an ancient vertebrate uses familiar tools to build a strange-looking head

The creation of the Vuoksi River preceded a significant cultural shiftThe creation of the Vuoksi River preceded a significant cultural shift

Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus

Study ties groundwater to human evolution

Researchers discover 3 extinct squirrel-like speciesResearchers discover 3 extinct squirrel-like species

Ancient swamp creature had lips like Mick Jagger

New digital map reveals stunning hidden archaeology of Stonehenge

New species of extinct dolphin sheds light on river dolphin historyNew species of extinct dolphin sheds light on river dolphin history

Testing the fossil recordTesting the fossil record

Paleontologists discover new species of titanosaurian dinosaur in Tanzania

Study traces ecological collapse over 6,000 years of Egyptian history

Enigmatic Viking fortress discovered in DenmarkEnigmatic Viking fortress discovered in Denmark



Archives
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.